When the owners of a 1950s galley kitchen — complete with laminate countertops — came to a meeting armed with tear sheets of old houses in Spain and France, San Francisco designer Grant K. Gibson knew one thing: His clients did not want a cookie-cutter look. With this in mind, he nodded to old-world details, such as oil rubbed-bronze hardware and antique-inspired floor tiles that really charm. Time-tested, time-approved.
Balancing Decor Styles
"Making sure this space didn't lean too country or too rustic required a delicate balance," Gibson says. To draw the eye upward and ensure the room wouldn't be dominated by the encaustic-tile floors, he installed handsome bin pulls on the Shaker-style cabinetry.
Adding an Extra Sink
He cooks and she bakes, so two sinks were necessary to keep the clients' love alive at dinner hour. The prep sink (above) is perfect for rinsing vegetables or filling pots with water — pasta, please! — while the farmhouse sink on the opposite wall (below) is deep enough for often-used rolling pins and mixing bowls.
Reusing Vintage Pieces
Rather than buying new fixtures, Gibson stripped and coated the existing chrome ones in unlacquered brass. To complement this living finish — which develops a patina over time — he chose Carrara marble countertops, which do the same. "They are used throughout Europe," he says. "The coolness of the stone is ideal for kneading dough."
Installing Realistic Shelving
Instead of the bank of open shelving requested by the clients for displaying vintage finds, Gibson placed a single ledge over the sink. "One shelf is simple and dynamic," he says. "You have to be able to hide clutter, and this way, you can rotate your collections!"
For more details, see Resources. This story originally appeared in the May 2016 issue of CQ.